Retro Review – Faith No More – Angel Dust

“This is a joke, right?”

Those there were some of the first words that were uttered by my high school buddy who sat down with me in order to check out “Angel Dust”.

By the time that we got to “Midnight Cowboy” he was laughing hysterically and I was ready to bury my face in my hands and curse the day when I bought this wretched piece of plastic.

Its my understanding that most of mainstream rock fans felt the same way about the album – they felt betrayed by the fact that there were no more goofy rap-metal anthems to be found on the new Faith No More album and much like my friend they simply deemed the band unworthy of attention for being way too wacky and weird.

In a retrospect, you can see that that was exactly that the point that the band was trying to make with “Angel Dust” – plenty of people, indeed, left the building after not finding another “Epic” on the album (though FNM’s cover of Commodores “Easy” nearly became a top ten hit), but that was just fine in a larger scheme of things.

While the album included plenty of straightforward rock/metal tracks (“Caffeine”, “A Small Victory”, “Malpractice”), beneath all that interior there was plenty of space for all sorts of oddities – whether  “RV” (with its Tom Waits-meets-metal vibe) or the aforementioned closing cover of theme from Midnight Cowboy. Perhaps the only intentional crowd-pleaser here is “Easy” and even that might seem like another strange choice coming after “War Pigs” off of “The Real Thing” –  Commodores aren’t exactly Sabbath, after all.

Iinterestingly enough the cover that didn’t made it into the album is FNM’s take on Dead Kennedy’s classic “Let’s Lynch The Landlord” – makes you wonder how it would’ve worked out had the band chose it as a single instead of “Easy”.

Perhaps the best testament to the staying power of “Angel Dust” comes from other bands who still cover material from the album (Disturbed and Between The Buried And Me, to name just a few) and it shows that by shedding much of its mainstream audience, the band gained something much more important in the process – a respect from those who were tired of copycat  funk-metal and alternative acts that flooded the market in the early 90s.

 

 

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